Alonzo T. Jones 1850-1923
At age 20, A. T. Jones began three years of service in the Army. Interestingly enough, he spent much of his time pouring over large historical works, SDA publications, and the Bible. He was baptized when he left the Army, and began preaching on the West Coast. In May, 1885, he became editor of the Signs of the Times, and was later joined by E. J. Waggoner.
In 1888, these two men stirred the General Conference session in Minneapolis with their preaching on righteousness by faith. For several years thereafter, they preached on that subject from coast to coast. Ellen White accompanied them on many occasions. She saw in Jones’ presentations of “the precious subject of faith and the righteousness of Christ…a flood of light” (EGW 1888 Materials, p. 291).
Jones was on the General Conference Committee in 1897 and editor-in-chief of the Review and Herald from 1897 to 1901.
In 1889, with J. O. Corliss, he spoke against a bill in the U.S. Congress on Sunday observance; the bill was defeated. Thereafter he was a prominent speaker for religious freedom, serving as editor of the forerunner of the Liberty magazine.
After being president of the California Conference (1901-1903), he joined Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s staff against the counsel of E. G. White, a move which after a series of unfortunate misunderstandings and unwise choices, led to his separation from denominational employment and loss of church membership.
Jones remained a Sabbath observer and loyal to most of the other doctrines of the church. He is remembered especially for his part in bringing into prominence the doctrine of justification by faith.
Although A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner are not considered pioneers, the message God gave them was “a special message”, “a most precious message”, “to be given to the world”, “to prepare a people to stand in the day of God.” It was “the matchless charms of Christ” (The 1888 Ellen G. White Materials, p. 43, 1336-1337, 1814, and 348). Their contribution is appreciatively noted.